Casa di Mir Summer Mathematics: Adventure #1

Welcome to Casa di Mir Montessori School’s Summer Mathematics Adventures created by our very own middle school math teacher, Miss Trisha, who says summer is a great time to focus on real-world uses of mathematics.

“At its core, mathematics is about counting and measuring things–all things mathematical, no matter how complex, really come back to this. Mathematics is all around us,” she says.

“Take the time with your kids when you are out and about this summer to notice and wonder and ponder and tinker with the many ways that humans have figured out how to quantify our amazing world.”

Trisha has lots of adventure ideas. So each Thursday this summer (we’ll call it Math Adventures Thursday, #MATh), for as long as Miss Trisha comes up with new ideas, we’ll post a new adventure here and link it to our social media sites.

Are you ready? Here’s math adventure #1:

The Farmer’s Market

Take your kids to a farmer’s market, so they can get practice handling money and making transactions. Do not bring calculators! This is mental math at its best and most real.

For the littlest kids, work with items that are sold in whole dollar amounts and have a raft of $1 bills with you. They can hold the money, count out what they have, decide if it’s enough to make a purchase, and then make the trade.

For slightly older kids, go with a budget, say $20. Have the kids figure out how much they can buy with that $20, make the transactions, determine if they have the right amount of change and how much they have left to spend.

Older kids can manage more complex dollars and cents transactions. For example, today my daughters and I bought 2 1/2 pounds of oranges for $1.50 per pound. The clerk ran through the calculation quickly in his head. On the way home, the girls and I talked about how to do math mentally. If we had bought 1 lb of oranges, how much would that have cost? If we had bought 2 lb of oranges, how much would that have cost? So, we actually bought 2 1/2 pounds of oranges, so what were we supposed to pay?

Doing the thinking out loud is a great way to get comfortable with mental math.